May 13 (GMM) Extreme wheel nut and hub designs in 2010 are contributing to failures, according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
The specialist magazine said technical solutions to speed up pistops this year are related to the most recent failures seen on the Red Bull and McLaren cars last week in Barcelona.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh confirmed this week that a wheel rim failure due to “human error” caused Lewis Hamilton’s deflation and crash on the penultimate lap.
Auto Motor und Sport claims that a mechanic had pulled his gun off the wheel too soon during the pitstop, with Whitmarsh now confirming that the nut subsequently “loosened slightly”.
“The magnesium part heated up and eventually broke,” added the Briton.
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Vettel finished the race at the Circuit de Catalunya third, but without touching the brakes in the last dozen laps.
Auto Motor und Sport said the left front brake disc was longitudinally broken, with the team reportedly believing vibrations caused the failure.
The magazine speculated that, as was also the cause of his Melbourne problem – and Michael Schumacher’s retirement in Malaysia – a wheel nut not fitted tightly enough at the pitstop was at the heart of Vettel’s failure.